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But don't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.
John 6:27

The hunger for popularity is all-consuming among teenagers, essential to political life, and emotional torture to everyone who pursues it. The secret to popularity is to do everything right, say everything right, look absolutely perfect, and know all the right people. The biggest secret to popularity, though, is to give everyone what they want, when they want it. One slip, however, one wrong word or tacky outfit, and you're doomed. All of us know what it means to fall slightly short of the glory of popularity.

Jesus seemed to fight popularity at every turn, yet in spite of his warnings to keep his miracles quiet, his popularity grew (vv. 14-15). Jesus found his notoriety to be a nuisance at times, often dangerous, and mostly a roadblock to his ministry. He knew that the multitudes were following him for the wrong reasons and would soon be disillusioned. Therefore, he spoke out against their shallowness: "Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs'" (v. 26). When he challenged them to strive for faith rather than free food, his followers demanded more signs (vv. 27-30). Jesus refused and continued pressing for their wants to become faith in the eternal bread of life. His insistence frustrated some of his followers. "Who is this Jesus, anyway? Don't we know his mother and father? He's nothing special" (see vv. 41-42).

Are we ever like these people? Are our prayers more like wish lists than conversations? How well do our expectations fall in line with what God desires for us? While God delights in granting our prayers and loves to be involved in the smallest parts of our lives, he also wants us to grow in spiritual depth and to come to him for eternal daily bread. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your prayers today. Listen to God as he speaks to you. Let him feed you with eternal bread and sustain you with his eternal words of life. Come to him not with any agenda but with an attitude of receptivity best expressed by Christ himself, "I want your will to be done, not mine" (Matt 26:39).


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